Category Archives: Business & Politics

Business & Politics

No progress on rail strike negotiations, say union, companies

By Geralyn Wichers
The Canadian Cattlemen
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

No progress has been made in negotiations with Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) railway the union representing workers said yesterday. Earlier this month, rail workers from Canadian National and CPKC voted overwhelmingly to strike as soon as May 22. The federal government asked the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to look at whether the strike would have safety implications. The Teamsters said it met with the company and federal mediators on May 17. The groups parted ways and no more meetings have been scheduled. “Ultimately, no progress has been made on the Union’s demands this week. The Company clearly indicated its preference for arbitration over negotiation, suggesting it hopes for government intervention to stop collective bargaining.” CPKC said it has “done everything it can.” This includes two different offers to the union. It said TCRC refused an offer to resolve the dispute via binding arbitration.

Related coverage in Saltwire: CPKC says possible Canada rail strike unlikely before mid-July

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Canadian Pacific Kansas City Rail says Canadian rail strike or lockout is unlikely to occur before July

By Bill Stephens
Trains
May 16, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

CALGARY, Alberta — Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) says it’s unlikely that its engineers, conductors, and rail traffic controllers in Canada can strike or be locked out within the next 60 days. CPKC and Canadian National are conducting separate negotiations with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, whose members authorized a strike that could have begun on May 22. But last week the Canada Industrial Relations Board began a review of what commodities might be deemed essential and therefore would be required to continue moving during a work stoppage. The deadline for submissions from interested parties is May 21, with replies due on May 31. That timeline has increased uncertainty about when freight traffic — as well as commuter service in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, which are dispatched by CPKC — would be affected by a strike or lockout.

In related coverage:

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Wonky backbone of Canada’s economy again faces big disruption

By Sylvain Charlebois, Dalhousie University
The Star Phoenix
May 17, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

In a country as vast and resource rich as Canada, one would expect logistics — a critical backbone of our economy — to be a priority. Yet, it remains one of the most under-appreciated aspects of our economic infrastructure. Canadians, largely oblivious to the intricacies of supply chains, are accustomed to the seamless appearance of goods on store shelves. This perception belies a stark reality: Canada has one of the poorest reputations worldwide for logistical efficiency, and we are teetering on the brink of yet another disruptive labour dispute. The looming strike involving Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) threatens to cripple the nation’s largest railway network. …This potential strike, the third rail conflict in five years and fifth including port disputes in Montreal and Vancouver, highlights a chronic vulnerability in our national logistics system. …All major Canadian ports rank low internationally, and our airports do little better.

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China is after Canada’s pulp and paper industry – it’s a national-security issue

By Robert Dimirieff, President of Patriot Forge co.
The Globe and Mail
May 16, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

In the shadow of escalating global conflicts and the pressing demand for military supplies, a critical component of national security is being overlooked: the strategic importance of pulp and paper. These materials are pivotal in the production of military-grade components such as nitrocellulose. …The acquisition of Resolute by privately held Paper Excellence – among other purchases of Canadian producers by parties related to foreign corporations, notably from China – places these essential resources under the control of overseas interests. …Nitrocellulose, or guncotton, is produced primarily from wood pulp and is critical for producing smokeless gunpowder used in military ammunition. Currently, China dominates the global nitrocellulose market, controlling the production and export of this vital material. Europe’s dependency on Chinese nitrocellulose has already led to supply shortages, hampering efforts to support Ukraine. …To safeguard national security and economic sovereignty, I believe Canada must re-evaluate its strategic industries through the lens of contemporary global challenges. [to access the full story a Globe & Mail subscription is required]

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BC government diversifying economy amid pulpmill, sawmill shutdowns

By Tommy Osborne
CKPG Today
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE – Following a string of pulpmill and sawmill closures in Northern B.C that has impacted communities like Chetwynd, Houston B.C., Prince George, and more, the B.C. Government announced $13 million of funding for manufacturing businesses in north B.C. While the government says forestry will always be heavily supported, Minister Brenda Bailey says diversifying the economy is a big focus. …Prolenc Manufacturing, a metal manufacturing company in Prince George, was one of many funding recipients. …While Prolenc isn’t directly a forestry company, it has strong ties to the forestry industry, estimating 1/3 of its operations provide parts for forestry equipment. …While diversifying the economy is undoubtedly a focus for the provincial government, Minister Bailey pointed out the government continues to heavily invest and fund the forestry industry, saying half of all manufacturing funds are towards the forestry industry.

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BC government ‘very concerned, troubled’ by the impact of mill closures, minister says

KelownaNow
May 22, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC’s Minister of Forests says he was surprised by Canfor’s recent decision to curtail operations in three communities in Northern BC. …At the time, the company said there wasn’t enough fibre for the Northwood Pulp Mill in Prince George but it also blamed policy and regulation changes. However, Bruce Ralston, minister of forests, told NowMedia that was not the case. …“What they wanted (were) some very strong assurances, which we gave them,” Ralston said. ”You can’t guarantee something 100%, but I would say it was 99% guaranteed fibre for the long term for that mill. So, for them to say now that there was no fibre availability, that’s not the message that they received and that’s not the message they acted upon when they went forward with the decision to reinvest.” …NowMedia asked if there was an opportunity to reopen discussion. …“I think it’s unlikely that those decisions would be reversed immediately,” Ralston said.

Related coverage in CKPGToday: ‘A bright future’: Minister of Forests says about industry after recent closures, curtailments

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Dr. Mark Martinez Honored with Two TAPPI Technical Awards

University of BC Bioproducts Institute
May 21, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Dr. Mark Martinez has been honored with two prestigious TAPPI Division awards. During the annual Awards Ceremony at TAPPICon in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Martinez received the Paper & Board Division’s Technical Award & Harris O. Ware Prize, and the Research and Development Division’s Technical Award and William H. Aiken Prize. TAPPI’s Division Technical awards are presented in recognition of outstanding accomplishments or contributions which have advanced the industry’s science and/or technology in each Division’s respective field through technical reports, publications, Standards, TIPs, or in related or comparable efforts including teaching, writing or editing textbooks. …Dr. Martinez’s achievements reflect his outstanding contribution to the field, and his work continues to inspire peers and students alike. Congratulations!

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Global Wood Summit: Website Now Live

By Russ Taylor and Kevin Mason
Global Wood Summit
May 22, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

We are pleased to announce that our GLOBAL WOOD SUMMIT conference website is now up and running. You can now view the conference agenda including the sessions, topics and confirmed speakers. The GLOBAL WOOD SUMMIT will be held in Vancouver, BC from October 29-30, 2024. The international conference will feature speakers from five continents with strategic discussions about the global trade of forest products with deep dives into a number of key market and/or supply topics. The event will allow for in-depth market discussions, exchanges, outlooks, and some great networking. Conference and hotel registration will open in early June. Early Bird prices are available through July at US$995. Both RUSS TAYLOR GLOBAL and ERA Forest Products welcome you to explore this unique event that will focus on global trade developments in pulp, paper, logs, lumber and panels, with a focus on the global trade of logs and lumber. 

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Vancouver Island communities lost out on $1 billion thanks to new forestry policies

By Grant Warkentin
My Campbell River Now
May 19, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Bob Brash

Communities north of Nanaimo lost out on roughly one billion dollars last year because of reduced logging activity. Bob Brash with the Truck Loggers Association spoke to the Strathcona Regional District last week… on the current state of BC forestry. And it’s not good, he says. The industry harvested 20 million fewer cubic metres of wood last year, worth about 7 billion dollars to the BC economy. “It’s estimated that there’s a value of $350 per cubic metre that comes to the province at the end of the day from each cubic metre harvested,” he said. …So it’s significant. Brash says recent government policy changes have made it more expensive and difficult to access timber near protected old-growth stands. He says the well-funded environmental lobby has also contributed to the decline.  Click here to see his presentation, starting at the 9 minute mark.

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BC ‘needs to restore hope’ for the natural resource sector, says Kevin Falcon

By Cheyanna Lorraine
Kelowna Now
May 17, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC’s forestry sector has been the topic of much debate and discussion across the province this week after the loss of over 700 jobs in the North. The leader of the Conservative Party of BC told NowMedia on May 13 that the announcement was “tragic.” …He also called on Premier David Eby to provide immediate relief for forestry workers. …An economic study from the BC Council of Forest Industries found that the number of forestry-related jobs dipped to 90,000 in 2023 and harvest levels dropped to 35 million cubic metres, which is down from the 50 million cubic metres in 2021. …However, Bruce Ralston, minister of forests, told NowMedia in a statement that the province’s “number one focus” was supporting workers, families and communities impacted by the mill closures. …Ralston said he acknowledged the stress people were feeling with the announcement of the Canfor closures.

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BC Manufacturing Job Fund Giving Financial Support To A Cariboo Biomass Project

By Pat Matthews
My Cariboo Now
May 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Two Cariboo companies are receiving money from the BC Manufacturing Job Fund to help create sustainable, well paying jobs across a range of sectors. In the Chilcotin TsiDelDel Development Corporation is receiving as much as $422,000 to purchase equipment for the creation of a sort yard for biomass. This project is aimed at centralizing the processing of waste wood that would otherwise be burned, the manufacturing of higher value products, and create as many as 16 jobs for the TsiDelDel First Nation. “Thanks to the support of the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, we’ve transformed our infrastructure to minimize waste from our biomass operations.” Clayton John Charleyboy, with Tsi Del Del Development Corporation. “This initiative is crucial to cultivate opportunities within forests devastated by catastrophic wildfires.”

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Northern B.C. facing economic headwinds, says report

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
May 16, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Communities in Northern B.C. are bracing for a “considerable downshift” in economic activity, as several energy mega-projects wind down and sawmill and pulp mill closures result in massive job losses. The Northern Development Investment Trust’s annual State of the North report notes some positive economic developments in some regions, but warns of economic headwinds ahead for other regions, especially those that are forestry dependent. …The report attributes the rise in the unemployment rate largely to the “ongoing forestry sector consolidation.” In 2023, Canfor announced the closure of a sawmill and pellet plant in Chetwynd, a sawmill in Houston, B.C. and a pulp and paper mill in Prince George. …And early in 2024, West Fraser announced the closure of its Fraser Lake sawmill, resulting in 175 job losses in a community of 1,000. “While there are a multitude of reasons for that consolidation, there remains considerable uncertainty… with more closures likely to occur,” the report says.

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Bill 25 and “Rising Tide” Haida Title Lands Agreement a major step forward

United Steelworkers
May 16, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The United Steelworkers union (USW) District 3 is committed to reconciliation with B.C. First Nations and supports Bill 25, Haida Nation Recognition Amendment Act, 2024. The “Rising Tide” Haida Title Lands Agreement is a major step forward. “We acknowledge our role in addressing the legacy of colonialism and we support the B.C. government doing the same,” said USW District 3 Director, Scott Lunny. Specifically, USW Local 1-1937 represents members working within the Haida Nation, primarily in the forest sector. …“Unionization, freedom of association and collective bargaining can be used as tools for reconciliation and, from an intersectional perspective, assist in addressing the dignity of Indigenous workers.” Bill 25 passed third reading on May 15 and is set to receive Royal Assent.

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Richmond Plywood unveils robotic wood surface repair system

By Daisy Xiong
The Richmond News
May 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

RICHMIOND, BC — Richmond Plywood unveiled its cutting-edge panel repair system last Friday. This $17.4-million system combines robotic technology with artificial intelligence (AI) to repair defects on plywood surfaces, something that was previously done manually, according to the company. …“Having state-of-the-art technology reflects the commitment of Richply to minimize material wastage, reduce costs and increase productivity to stay competitive in today’s market…We cannot wait to showcase the result of our latest capital investments,” said Bhavjit Thandi, CFO of Richply. …MP Parm Bains announced the federal government earmarked $6.7 million for the company to help fund the facility through Natural Resource Canada’s Investments in the Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program. …Richply said it’s also investing in a $40-million dryer project with advanced technology to replace its almost 70-year-old dryer that’s “very inefficient” by today’s standards.

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Mayor Yu – now’s not the time to point blame for forest industry cutbacks

By Ted Clarke
May 14, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prince George Mayor Simon Yu knows the sickening gut punch that came with Canfor’s latest forest industry cutbacks that will have a direct hit on the region’s economy. …“My first reaction was I tried to imagine the suffering and stress on those poor workers and their families…. we knew there was a time when the fibre supply would be short, but we had no idea it would be this kind of magnitude. It’s difficult to swallow, as a town and a region that relies on forestry so heavily over decades.” Yu said the highest priority has to be given to establishing retraining programs for the affected workers to keep them from being forced to move. …Yu said it doesn’t help to point the finger at provincial governments and their forest management practices and says that that won’t provide any solutions to the people who are about to lose their jobs.

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Houston Mayor and Chamber call for Appurtenancy Clause reinstatement

By Logan Flint
My Bulkley Lakes Now
May 14, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Calls for the province to reinstate the Appurtenancy Clause are being made by the District of Houston and Houston District Chamber of Commerse. The clause was removed in 2003 and calls come following Canfor’s recent announcement to end re-investment into the Houston sawmill. “The ongoing shifts in forestry policies have placed considerable strain on our communities,” said Chamber Chair Amber Oevering. “It is crucial to reinstate the Appurtenancy Clause to protect communities like ours and enhance the sustainability of the local economy.” If the clause is reinstated, it would ensure timber is processed in a community near to where it was harvested. In a statement, Houston Mayor Shane Brienen said “We, along with other forestry-dependent communities, call on the Provincial government to address our concerns and implement necessary changes to the tenure system to keep logs local. A comprehensive plan needs to be developed to carry us through the mid-term.

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B.C. NDP feel heat from Tories, blame Canfor mill suspension on market conditions

By Vaughn Palmer
The Vancouver Sun
May 14, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA — The final week of the legislature’s session began with B.C. Conservative Leader John Rustad targeting the NDP government over Canfor’s suspension of a $200-million reinvestment in a new mill in his northern B.C. riding. …The New Democrats blamed the suspension on market conditions. Rustad wasn’t having it. “As Canfor said very clearly, it’s because of government policy. We have millions of cubic metres of wood that is not being made available, that this government refuses to issue permits on.” …Premier David Eby insisted that the province had done what it could. “We worked closely with Canfor to make sure they had access to fibre for that new mill,” Eby told the house. “We’ve got a minister of state working exclusively on fibre supply, identifying those opportunities to get burned wood to market, to get marginal timber to pulp mills, scrap to pulp mills.”

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Canfor’s decision to not invest in Houston: a political move or economics?

By Scott Lunny and Jeff Bromley
United Steelworkers
May 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canfor announced it was reneging on the corporation’s commitment to rebuild sawmill operations in Houston, BC. Canfor also announced the indefinite closure of Polar Sawmill in Bear Lake, BC, was now permanent and closed a line at its Northwood Pulp operations in Prince George, BC. …Canfor cites “access to economically available fibre”… But reneging on the Houston rebuild—just eight months after Canfor promised workers in Houston, BC, a $200 million investment in “a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility–it’s fair for workers to ask Canfor for some answers. …It’s the same old story: companies run flat out when prices are high and then invest south of the border when prices fall. …But in the short term, it’s time for the provincial government to invite Canfor into a room, along with labour, First Nations and the communities, and fix this. And if Canfor won’t do that, let’s find someone who will.

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Layoffs looming, Northwood Pulp employees facing tough times ahead

By Ted Clarke
Castanet
May 14, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Chuck LeBlanc

Last week’s announcement of Canfor’s plan to indefinitely curtail production of one of its two pulp lines at Prince George’s Northwood Pulp & Timber hit like a bad case in indigestion for Chuck LeBlanc, president of Public Private Workers of Canada Local 9, the union that represents mill workers at Prince George Pulp and Paper. Sixteen months ago, Canfor swung the axe that chopped about 130 unionized workers and 50 or 60 management staff out of the payroll at PG Pulp when the company permanently close the pulp line due to a lack of the raw material… The mill that opened in 1966 was shut down for the final time in April 2023. …LeBlanc says forest companies have cut the stands that are easily accessible and are now crying foul because those trees are not so close anymore when, he says, they should have been taking from near and far sources all those years to allow the industry to sustain itself.

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Forestry Minister disappointed in recent Canfor closures

Victoria Times Colonist
May 10, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Bruce Ralston

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, has released the following statement regarding Canfor’s recent decisions to close Polar Sawmill, curtail a pulp line at Northwood Pulp and suspend reinvestment in its Houston mill: “We are disappointed by the business decision made by Canfor today and the impacts that will be felt by families and communities in northern British Columbia. We will be there to support the workers’ families and communities impacted by this corporate decision. “Workers shouldn’t bear the brunt of commodity cycles as they have been forced to for years. That’s why our government has been focused on stabilizing the sector. “We will continue our work with the sector through initiatives such as the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, which has led to investments in facilities throughout B.C., and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC supporting the pulp sector by bringing fibre in from the bush.

Additional coverage in My Prince George Now, by Will Peters: Mayor wants PG less reliant on forestry after Canfor shutdowns

My Prince George Now, by Will Peters: Union president shocked and furious with latest Canfor mill shutdowns

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Nova Scotia Reaches Settlement with Paper Excellence, Sets New Path Forward

By Premiers Office
The Government of Nova Scotia
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Tim Houston

NOVA SCOTIA — The Province’s negotiations through a court-ordered mediation process have resulted in a settlement agreement with Paper Excellence Group, owner of the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County. …“We’ve come to a resolution that is fair to all sides – settling legal and financial issues, protecting pensioners and setting a new path forward,” said Premier Tim Houston. “The company believes there could be a future for them in Nova Scotia.” The agreement approval would see Paper Excellence move forward with an independent feasibility study of the potential for a new kraft pulp mill in Queens County. The company would withdraw its proposal to upgrade the mill in Abercrombie, Pictou County. …A new mill would respond to observations from the 2018 report on forestry practices by Prof. William Lahey. If a new mill project moves ahead, the company will determine the next steps for the Pictou County mill site.

Related coverage:

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Unifor supports the prioritization of workers’ pensions in Northern Pulp agreement

UNIFOR
Cision Newswire
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Unifor welcomes news that fully funding the workers’ pension plan is part of the agreement reached between the Province of Nova Scotia and Paper Excellence, the parent company of the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou, N.S. “Unifor members of Local 440 at Northern Pulp have endured uncertainty over their future and their retirement funds for years now, and it’s imperative both parties to the agreement offer the basic respect to retirees and former employees by fully funding the pension plan,” said Unifor Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray. “Hearing Premier Houston speak of the workers’ pension funding being personally important to him gives us confidence the pension will be a priority.” The union will watch closely as the company conducts its feasibility study on the relocation of the pulp mill to another location in Nova Scotia.

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Northern Pulp ponders a move to Queens County, say sources

By Michael Gorman
CBC News
May 22, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

NOVA SCOTIA — The company that owns the Northern Pulp mill is casting its gaze on Nova Scotia’s South Shore as it contemplates its future in the province, multiple sources tell CBC News. An announcement is expected as soon as Thursday that Paper Excellence will explore the possibility of setting up a mill in Queens County, where famed industrialist Izaak Walton Killam founded the Mersey Paper Company in 1929. It operated until 2012. Mayor Darlene Norman of the Region of Queens Municipality… said council has not had any discussions about the potential of a mill coming to the area, but she declined to say if municipal staff have been in contact with officials connected to Northern Pulp. A spokesperson for Paper Excellence did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Northern Pulp mill ceased operations in Abercrombie Point in January 2020 after failing to secure approval to build a new effluent treatment facility.

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Hugues Simon to succeed Mario Plourde as President and CEO of Cascades

Cascades
May 16, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

Hugues Simon

KINGSEY FALLS, QC – Cascades Inc. announces the appointment of Mr. Hugues Simon as its new President and CEO. Currently President of the Wood Products business at Resolute Forest Products, Mr. Simon will assume his new role no later than July 1, 2024. The appointment follows an extensive succession planning and recruitment process, supported by an international firm, in anticipation of Mario Plourde’s planned retirement. After more than 11 years at the helm of the Company, Mr. Plourde will support the new President and CEO during a transition period lasting until December 2024, after which he will act as a Special Advisor.

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Resolute and Greenpeace parties announce the conclusion of long-running litigations

Paper Excellence Canada
May 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

On April 26, 2024, Resolute Forest Products, Greenpeace, Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., and Greenpeace International announced that they have resolved Resolute Forest Products, Inc. et al. v. Greenpeace International et al., No. 3:17-cv-02824-JST (N.D. Cal. 2016). Resolute Forest Products and Greenpeace Canada also announced that they have resolved Resolute Forest Products, Inc. et al. v. Greenpeace Canada et al. All parties are pleased that they have turned the page on these long-running litigations. The Greenpeace parties have no knowledge of illegal operations in off-limit areas by Resolute. Greenpeace, Inc., Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Canada state that their criticism was always directed at Resolute’s legal operations in certain forests that Greenpeace believes require more protection. Greenpeace states that it will continue to advocate for protection of the environment. Resolute states that it is committed to the sustainability of the boreal forest and prosperity of its communities. 

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Rayonier Advanced Material’s layoff ‘seems to be the beginning of the end,’ union leader worries

By David Briggs
The Bay Today
May 13, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada East

TEMISCAMING, Quebec — “There’ve been no updates at all,” explained Stéphane Lefebvre, President of Unifor Local 233, which represents many of the 275 workers recently laid off from Rayonier Advanced Materials (RYAM), when the company announced it will suspend operations at the Temiscaming High Purity Cellulose plant. “No updates,” Lefebvre reiterated, “and that’s the part that we find really inhumane.” However, he hopes for more answers soon, as representatives from the company are coming up from headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida, to meet with the union on May 21. This morning, the union held a press conference at Unifor’s Union Hall at 35 Outlook Street. …Temiscaming’s mayor, Pierre Gingras attended, as did Chief Lisa Robinson of Wolf Lake First Nation and many others whose community is affected by the layoffs, which take effect on July 2. “This entire region is going to be impacted by this decision,” Chief Robinson said. 

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Billerud decides on a new direction to transform production in the US towards packaging materials

Billerud.com
May 21, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

ESCANABA, Michigan — Billerud’s Board of Directors has decided to not proceed with plans to convert its Escanaba mill to cartonboard production. Instead, the company will target to shift its product mix gradually towards packaging materials in North America with a moderate investment level. “After in-depth feasibility studies, evaluations, and supplier discussions, we have concluded that the projected return on investment is not sufficiently attractive to proceed with the conversion of Escanaba to cartonboard production. During the process, conditions have changed and the cost of equipment and services necessary to transform the operations have greatly increased. Instead, we will pursue a higher returning and more moderate investment strategy for our North American mills going forward,” says Ivar Vatne, President and CEO of Billerud. Billerud will continue to serve the North American markets with its high quality cartonboard produced at its European mills.

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Brazil’s Suzano discusses higher bid for International Paper

Bc Anirban Sen and David French
Reuters in Yahoo! Finance
May 20, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

Brazilian pulp and paper company Suzano has been in talks with its advisers about sweetening its $15 billion acquisition offer for International Paper (IP), people familiar with the matter said on Monday. Earlier this month Suzano had approached IP to verbally express interest in an all-cash acquisition that was worth roughly $42 per share. Such a deal is conditional on IP abandoning its agreement to acquire British packaging firm DS Smith for $7.2 billion. IP rejected Suzano’s initial approach, and Suzano is discussing raising its offer by a few dollars per share, one of the sources said. The sources cautioned there is no certainty that a new bid from Suzano would succeed.IP’s shares jumped more than 1.3% during market hours on the news on Monday, and further extended gains in trading after the bell. Shares of Suzano, which has a market value of 67.1 billion reais ($13.15 billion), closed up more than 1% in Brazil.

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EPA fines PotlatchDeltic $225,000 for Clean Water Act violations

The US Environmental Protection Agency
May 17, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

SEATTLE – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced PotlatchDeltic Land & Lumber of St. Maries, Idaho, will pay $225,000 for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. PotlatchDeltic sits within the Coeur d’ Alene Tribe’s reservation and discharges into a section of the St. Joe River that is Tribal waters. …EPA conducted an inspection in March 2017 to evaluate PotlatchDeltic’s compliance with its permits and found PotlatchDeltic had numerous stormwater violations, such as failure to implement corrective actions following continued benchmark exceedances and implement adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan controls. …PotlatchDeltic agreed to extensive remedies to come into and remain in compliance with its Clean Water Act permits, including facility improvements, construction of a new filtration system and combining its outfalls. PotlatchDeltic also agreed to perform two mitigation actions designed to protect and enhance habitat for trout and salmon in Hangman Creek on PotlatchDeltic’s property.

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Makah Tribe announces Grand Opening of new sawmill

By Pepper Fisher
My Clallam County
May 21, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

NEAH BAY, Washington – The Makah Tribe at Neah Bay will be hosting the grand opening of their new sawmill on Thursday, May 30. The mill has already been in operation this month cutting lumber for customers both private and commercial. Their website says they take custom orders for rough and surfaced lumber in cedar, fir, spruce, hemlock and alder. They also offer kiln drying. As we reported in April, the Tribe is working with the Composite Recycle Technology Center (CRTC) to mill lumber from western hemlock, a tree that is often disposed of by the timber industry. When hemlock dries, it twists and cracks, making it poor wood for lumber. CRTC has found a way to change that with a process called thermal modification, and then integrate carbon fiber with the wood fiber to create cross-laminated timber panels for use in construction.

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Montana wood products industry receives financial help from federal government

By Zach Volheim
KPAX Western Missoula News
May 20, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

MISSOULA — The Montana woods products industry recently received financial support thanks to the U.S. Forest Service under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. A total of eight companies, consisting of sawmills, wood products manufacturers and logging operations, received grant money — totaling $5 million across all eight — for innovation and infrastructure assistance. They include: Kanduch Logging: $229,973, Panhandle Forest Products: $300,000, Montana Technology Enterprise Center: $300,000, California Hotwood, Inc.: $189,045, Sun Mountain Lumber, Inc.: $1,000,000, Stillwater Post and Pole LLC: $1,000,000, SmartLam NA Enterprises US, LLC: $1,000,000, and Panhandle Forest Products Inc.: $1,000,000. …Besides helping replace old machinery and equipment, this grant money will also help the companies continue to partner with the U.S. Forest Service to help promote and maintain healthy forests — mainly by reducing the amount of fuel for wildfires and increasing forest resilience to fire.

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Timberlab Acquires American Laminators Accelerating Growth of Mass Timber Construction

By Timberlab Holdings Inc,
PR Newswire
May 16, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Chris Evans

PORTLAND, Oregon — Timberlab, a provider of mass timber systems, and Diversified Wood Resources, doing business as American Laminators, an Oregon-based glue-laminated timber manufacturer, announce that they have entered into an agreement for Timberlab to acquire the assets of American Laminators and will continue operating their two Oregon-based facilities in Drain and Swisshome beginning June 10, 2024. Timberlab President Christopher Evans said, “acquiring American Laminators is another leap forward to advancing our capabilities and services in the mass timber industry.” Since its founding in 1962, American Laminators has been one of the leading manufacturers of custom glulam in the United States. They produce the longest-spanning glulam in North America, utilizing a clear glue that adds to the high aesthetic value of their product.

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Weyerhaeuser Appoints Brian Chaney as Senior Vice President of Wood Products

By Weyerhaeuser Company
PR Newswire
May 13, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Brian Chaney

SEATTLE — Weyerhaeuser announced the appointment of Brian Chaney as senior vice president of Wood Products, effective June 3, 2024. Chaney currently serves as vice president of Engineered Wood Products and Innovation for the company, and he will take over for Keith O’Rear, who is retiring from his role on June 3 and will serve as a strategic advisor to the company through the end of 2024. “Brian has demonstrated exceptional leadership driving safety, strategy and operational excellence in his 33 years with the company,” said Devin W. Stockfish, president and chief executive officer. …”I also want to congratulate Keith on his retirement and thank him for his 36 years of outstanding leadership and service with Weyerhaeuser,” Stockfish said. …”We are grateful for all he has done to grow the business and build on our industry-leading operating performance.”

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Paper Excellence Canada and the province of Nova Scotia reach a settlement

Paper Excellence Canada
May 23, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, US East

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Paper Excellence Canada announced that it has reached a settlement with the Province of Nova Scotia that acknowledges plans to reopen Northern Pulp in Pictou will not proceed and provides for a review process… to determine whether a new, modern mill in Nova Scotia is viable. The agreement also provides for the settlement of outstanding litigation and loans between the two parties and fully addresses the pensions of former mill employees. The settlement agreement is subject to approval by the Supreme Court of BC. Central to the settlement agreement is the creation by the Northern Pulp group and the Province of Nova Scotia of a review process that will explore the feasibility of a new mill in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. …Other highlights include: the Pictou site to be maintained for potential logistics operations; …former employee pensions will be fully funded; …and withdrawal of litigation and settlement of debts.

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Irving Sawmills Division Invests $30 million to Open Ashland, Maine Sawmill

J.D. Irving, Limited
May 21, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

ASHLAND, Maine — J.D. Irving, Limited Sawmills Division announced that it will invest $30 million in a new state-of-the-art Softwood sawmill at Ashland (Nashville Plantation), Maine. During the construction phase, the new facility will employ up to 50 people at peak. Once the mill is operating, 60 permanent jobs will be created. Biomass boilers, dry kilns, and a planer mill will also be part of the investment. Construction will begin shortly, pending favorable permitting; and the new mill is expected to open in late Spring of 2014. The lumber produced at this new facility will be certified under the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative programs. …The round wood log supply for the new sawmill will be procured from the company’s Maine freehold woodlands as well as other woodlot and timberland owners in the state. The company has reached an agreement with the United Steel Workers Union (USW) to certify the site.

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Matthew Holt named dean of Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

By Office of the Provost
Clemson College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences
May 22, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

VIRGINIA — Clemson University has named Matthew T. “Matt” Holt dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS). Currently head and professor of Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Holt begins his new position on September 1, 2024. Holt is a highly regarded agricultural economist and a leading expert in applied econometric methods. Throughout his career, he has worked to develop and apply modern econometric tools to problems related to agricultural market and price analysis and production and price risk management. His recent work explores the linkages between climate anomalies and the markets for agricultural and natural resource products. …In 2009, Holt was named a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, the highest honor this professional association can bestow on its members. …Holt joined Virginia Tech as a professor and department head in 2017. 

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MasterBrand acquires Supreme Cabinetry Brands for $520 million

By Larry Adams
The Woodworking Network
May 21, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

BEACHWOOD, Ohio —  MasterBrand, through its subsidiary MasterBrand Cabinets, has agreed to acquire Supreme Cabinetry Brands from GHK Capital Partners for $520 million in cash. The sale’s closing is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2024, subject to customary closing conditions and other regulatory approvals. MasterBrand, which in 2024 entered its second year as a stand-alone company after divesting from Fortune Brands in December 2022, is the nation’s largest cabinet company. Howard Lake, Minnesota-based Supreme Cabinetry had sales of $253 million. …According to MasterBrand, the acquisition is expected to deliver annual cost synergies of $28 million by the end of year three. These will come from areas including procurement, facility optimization, and overhead expenses. In addition to the cost synergies, MasterBrand anticipates commercial synergies across the companies’ complementary channels and product lines.

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‘It’s devastating.’ U.P. paper mill will not get $1B upgrade

By Rose White
Michigan Live
May 21, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

A Swedish paper manufacturer is not moving forward with a $1 billion plan to upgrade a struggling Upper Peninsula paper mill. Billerud announced that it will no longer be converting the Escanaba Mill from producing paper to making an advanced paper product known as cartonboard. This comes after Michigan awarded Billerud a $200 million grant last year. …The company will now shift toward producing packaging materials in North America with a “moderate investment level.” Ivar Vatne, Billerud CEO, says “the investment level remains a massive challenge,”  and “I can say that the investment level needed is much, much higher versus our ongoing projections.” Billerud planned to retool the 112-year-old paper mill to make a stiff multi-ply product for packaging cosmetics, healthcare, beverages and candy products as demand for paper pulp drops. …The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is working to terminate the state’s grant agreement with Billerud.

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Three Weyerhaeuser employees taken to hospital after fire at wood plant

By Jodi Miesen
9and10news
May 17, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Michigan — Beaver Creek Township Fire Department is investigating a fire that injured three wood processing employees on Thursday. Firefighters got the call around 12:15 p.m. from the Weyerhaeuser wood processing plant. They say Weyerhaeuser was already doing fire suppression on a silo with their own fire brigade when fire crews arrived. The silo collects sawdust. Three employees were burnt while inspecting a hatch on a piece of equipment when the fire flared up, according to firefighters. The injuries were not reported to be life-threatening. Those employees were treated on scene before being transported to the hospital. The fire remains under investigation, with no cause identified at this time. The Grayling, Camp Grayling and Frederic Township Fire Departments all assisted.

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Maine wood products companies get $1.6 million in federal grants

By Kelley Bouchard
The Press Herald
May 15, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

Brian SouersThree Maine wood products companies will share $1.6 million in federal grants to support innovation and continued production in the state’s forest industries. The funding is from the Wood Innovations and Community Wood Grant Program of the U.S. Forest Service, which is investing $74 million in 171 projects nationwide, Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said.  Treeline, a company based in Chester, will receive $1 million for its Penobscot River Treatment Facility to produce thermally modified wood products. Godfrey Forest Products will get $300,000 to help produce oriented strand board, at its mill in Jay. Tanbark in Saco will receive $300,000 to help expand its capabilities to replace plastic packaging with molded wood fiber. “These federal grants support rural economies while investing in forward-thinking, sustainable practices (and) help Maine loggers and forest product producers adapt to ever-changing industries, climate (impacts) and markets,” Pingree said.

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